UK Resumption of Research Phased Plan Guidance

When will we be at Phase 3 research on campus?

A university-wide announcement went out September 22, 2020, announcing that PIs with approved Plans can move to Phase 3 on September 28. See Lisa Cassis' email with full details here

 

If I submitted my Phase 3 and Phase 4 plans with my Phase 2 plan and had them all approved, do I need to resubmit these plans to move to Phase 3?

If you originally completed, and had approved, your individualized plan/Excel template to include details for conducting research during Phase 3 AND your plan does not involve undergraduates or human participants research, then you may move to Phase 3 on September 28, 2020.

If your plan DID include undergraduates or human participants research, you will need to submit a revised plan that takes into account the updated guidance in the revised version of the University of Kentucky Resumption of Research Phased Plan. Once your revised plan is approved, you may move to Phase 3 on September 28, 2020.    

Are undergraduate or high school students allowed in our research labs this fall?

Trainee participation in research is outlined according to Phase and is focused on working safely while advancing the research mission, minimizing risk to all personnel. Additional information can be found on page 10 of the updated University of Kentucky Resumption of Research Phased Plan.

Phase 2: Undergraduates and high school students are not allowed in research laboratories during Phase 2, with the exception of undergraduates who are staff on grants or contracts, with special permission.

Phase 3: High school students or other volunteers are not allowed during Phase 3. Justification is required for specific undergraduates to participate in research during Phase 3, so that health and safety is maximized and the research mission is protected. Prioritization should be given to undergraduates taking research course credits for degree completion. Including undergraduates in the research plan should take into consideration training needs that would place personnel in close proximity for extended periods of time. However, PIs may choose not to include undergraduates in their research plans due to increased risk to research personnel in the workspace. If students feel unsafe, they should be allowed to opt out of on-site research activities and will be provided alternative learning opportunities.

Undergraduates involved in research are required to be re-tested prior to initiation of work.

Special considerations: Undergraduates can participate in human participants research if safety concerns are addressed adequately in the PI’s plan. However, undergraduate participation in COVID-related research in general should be excluded, but exceptions will be considered if risk is adequately mitigated.

PIs who are willing to have undergraduate students in their research spaces must include them in their approved Resumption of Research Plan and justify their selection (course/graduation requirement, etc.).

Because in Phase 3, undergraduate students are required to be re-tested for COVID-19 before coming into research workspaces, PIs and/or supervisors should require proof that the student completed the test. This could be in the form of a copy of the scheduled appointment, a verification note from the testing site if provided upon request, or being shown the email transmission that the test result is ready. This verification should not include the test result, because this is protected information. If the student tests positive, then UK Health Corps will inform the student who will be moved to isolation. The student is responsible for interfacing with the PI as to next steps. Students working in labs should be tested no more than 7-days prior to the start of the work in the lab. For more information related to student testing visit: https://www.uky.edu/coronavirus/students/testing-screening-and-tracing

There are undergraduates who would like to work in my lab, how do I verify they have been re-tested for COVID-19 prior to starting work in order to comply with the resumption plan?

Because in Phase 3, undergraduate students are required to be re-tested for COVID-19 before coming into research workspaces, PIs and/or supervisors should require proof that the student completed the test. This could be in the form of a copy of the scheduled appointment, a verification note from the testing site if provided upon request, or being shown the email transmission that the test result is ready. This verification should not include the test result, because this is protected information. If the student tests positive, then UK Health Corps will inform the student who will be moved to isolation. The student is responsible for interfacing with the PI as to next steps. Students working in labs should be tested no more than 7-days prior to the start of the work in the lab. For more information related to student testing visit: https://www.uky.edu/coronavirus/students/testing-screening-and-tracing

Can I mandate that my employees or research participants have a negative COVID-19 test before returning to work or participating in an on-going research study?

No, you may not implement COVID-19 testing requirements that are beyond what the university and UK HealthCare requires. Please see below for details on how to schedule an optional employee test. 

Free COVID-19 testing is now available, though not required, to UK campus employees who are working on site this fall. If you would like to be tested, please schedule at one of the five on-campus testing locations. Your invitation code is your 8-digit UK ID number.
 
https://scheduling.coronavirus.wildhealth.com/
 
After you schedule your test, you will receive a follow-up communication with instructions to register. Please note that scheduling and registering are two distinct steps. Please complete both before you arrive at a testing site. 

If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, do not come to campus for this test. Instead, you should immediately contact your health care provider. 
 
Please be aware that the consent form used during the online registration process was originally designed for student testing, but employees will be given a revised consent form to sign when they arrive at the testing site. The consent form an employee signs at the testing site will replace the online consent form for that employee.
 
Campus employees who live outside of Lexington may utilize this on-campus option for testing. In addition, free testing is available at sites across the state.
  
View employee testing FAQs and keep updated on our efforts for testing, screening and tracing at www.uky.edu/coronavius. If you have any questions, please email healthcorps@uky.edu.

What do I do if one of my staff tests positive for COVID-19?

Department management should ask the employee to notify UK Health Corps healthcorps@uky.edu. Please see below for more information that went to employees on August 14.

All campus employees who come to campus for any reason will be required to participate in a daily COVID-19 screening, seven days a week. HealthCare employees will continue to follow the daily screening process currently in place. 

If you plan to come to campus at any frequency this semester and you are not already receiving the daily screening email, please complete this form to be in compliance with university requirements.

This screening is not only a means to keep our community safe, but another way for you to be mindful of your symptoms. Completing the required screening quick and easy; it takes less than 5 seconds if you don’t have symptoms. In some cases, it takes less than 60 seconds if you’re reporting symptoms.
 
If individuals indicate they have no symptoms or known exposure, they will be free to continue with their daily schedules. Employees who indicate they are experiencing symptoms or have had exposure to someone who has tested positive will be asked to remain home and monitor their symptoms. They also will receive support from the UK Health Corps. Students will follow the same protocols. 

If you do not plan to come to campus for any reason this semester, you may also complete this form to opt out of the daily screening reminders. Only individuals who are working fully remotely and do not plan to come to campus in any capacity should utilize this process to opt out.
 
Additional important instructions:

  • Employees who have received approval to work fully remotely need to update their work location in myUK Employee Self Service. Employees who update their work location as remote in myUK will be excluded from the daily screening notifications.
  • Individuals who will work on-site at any frequency must complete the daily screening and will be reminded every day. Employees who fail to complete the screening after three consecutive days will appear on a report sent to their supervisors. Supervisors should use this report to recommunicate the daily screening expectation with their employees, identify any barriers to completing the screening, resolve those barriers and coach the employees to complete the screening daily.
  • Employees who fail to complete the daily screening for five consecutive days will appear on a report sent to the appropriate senior leader.

Learn more about your required daily screening here.

The university will issue guidance soon on which screen(s) should be completed by someone who works in a campus department but reports to a work location in a UK HealthCare facility. 

If business officers anticipate employees in their colleges/units will not have access to the technology (smart phone/computer) to complete the daily screening before coming to work, a paper-based alternative is available. UK Health Corps can provide this by request at healthcorps@uky.edu.

All self-reported symptom information will be kept private. At the same time, the university health care system and Wild Health are required to report positive cases to the Kentucky Department of Health.

What leave options are available to myself and/or employees if we test positive for COVID?

If you are not well enough to work – whether at your normal work location or remotely – you should request sick leave, or Temporary Disability Leave (TDL). If you are unable to work due to the care of a sick family member, you should request sick leave. Under new federal laws, two options may be available if you are unable to work or telework:  

  • Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act – This act provides up to 12 weeks of leave, if you are unable to work or telework because you are caring for a child under 18 whose school or child care provider has closed due to COVID-19. 
  • Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act – This act provides up to two weeks of paid leave. 

More information on these leaves is available from Dr. Eric Monday’s April 1 announcement: https://www.uky.edu/coronavirus/updates/new-paid-leave-options-available

The federal legislation that created these leaves exempts health care workers and first responders, whose work we all rely on during this global health pandemic. Therefore, UK HealthCare and UK Police employees do not qualify for these leaves.

Is daily screening for research participants and campus employees required?

Screening questions that address how a research participant is feeling are required. Guidance from ORI regarding screening research participants can be found in these FAQs.

Please see below for more information that went to employees on August 14.

All campus employees who come to campus for any reason will be required to participate in a daily COVID-19 screening, seven days a week. HealthCare employees will continue to follow the daily screening process currently in place. 

If you plan to come to campus at any frequency this semester and you are not already receiving the daily screening email, please complete this form to be in compliance with university requirements.

This screening is not only a means to keep our community safe, but another way for you to be mindful of your symptoms. Completing the required screening quick and easy; it takes less than 5 seconds if you don’t have symptoms. In some cases, it takes less than 60 seconds if you’re reporting symptoms.
 
If individuals indicate they have no symptoms or known exposure, they will be free to continue with their daily schedules. Employees who indicate they are experiencing symptoms or have had exposure to someone who has tested positive will be asked to remain home and monitor their symptoms. They also will receive support from the UK Health Corps. Students will follow the same protocols. 

If you do not plan to come to campus for any reason this semester, you may also complete this form to opt out of the daily screening reminders. Only individuals who are working fully remotely and do not plan to come to campus in any capacity should utilize this process to opt out.
 
Additional important instructions:

  • Employees who have received approval to work fully remotely need to update their work location in myUK Employee Self Service. Employees who update their work location as remote in myUK will be excluded from the daily screening notifications.
  • Individuals who will work on-site at any frequency must complete the daily screening and will be reminded every day. Employees who fail to complete the screening after three consecutive days will appear on a report sent to their supervisors. Supervisors should use this report to recommunicate the daily screening expectation with their employees, identify any barriers to completing the screening, resolve those barriers and coach the employees to complete the screening daily.
  • Employees who fail to complete the daily screening for five consecutive days will appear on a report sent to the appropriate senior leader.

Learn more about your required daily screening here.

The university will issue guidance soon on which screen(s) should be completed by someone who works in a campus department but reports to a work location in a UK HealthCare facility. 

If business officers anticipate employees in their colleges/units will not have access to the technology (smart phone/computer) to complete the daily screening before coming to work, a paper-based alternative is available. UK Health Corps can provide this by request at healthcorps@uky.edu.

All self-reported symptom information will be kept private. At the same time, the university health care system and Wild Health are required to report positive cases to the Kentucky Department of Health.

What process did we go through to plan UK's resumption of research?

The VPR commissioned a working group (see composition below) April 21 on the development of a plan and process for phased resumption of research, with public health and safety as top priorities during any Phase of resumed research.

The following were guiding principles to resuming research activity that will be followed during each Phase:

  • Social distancing, defined as 6 feet separation of distance between individuals, should be employed when performing all research activities and during each phase. Social distancing (physical distance) supersedes percent activity within any one phase.
  • Appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), consistent with UK guidelines, should be available and employed within each Phase.
  • Performing remote research activities, whenever possible, should remain as the first-choice option for all research personnel throughout these phases until further notified.

Feedback on the draft plans developed through this process was obtained from a variety of stakeholders, including Deans and Associate Deans for Research within each College (who are encouraged to share this with faculty and staff), President of the Graduate Student Congress, Faculty Senate Committee on Research, Postdoctoral Program Oversight within the Graduate School, Provost Office and others. This feedback was discussed and assimilated within the plans, which were then sent through the Emergency Operations Center for implementation.

Resumption of Research Working Group:

  • Linda Dwoskin (Associate Dean for Research (ADR), Pharmacy, Chair)
  • Jim Geddes, ADR, COM
  • John Balk, ADR, COE
  • Bob Houtz, ADR, CAFE
  • Teresa Waters, ADR, Public Health
  • Betty Lorch, ADR, A&S
  • Lisa Cassis, VPR
  • Martha Peterson, EOC Rep
  • Jill Kolesar, COP (clinical research)
  • Nancy Schoenberg, AVPR, CHET Director (community research)
  • Doug Andres, faculty, COM (basic research)
  • Rodney Andrews, CAER Director
  • Baron Wolf, Research Data and Administration
  • Helene Lake-Bullock, ORI, human subjects
  • Bernie Doerning, DLAR Director
  • Brandy Nelson, EHS
  • Gus Miller, Facilities
  • Jeff Sullivan, HR Business Partner
  • Bill Stoops, Director, CRSO
  • Susan Cantrell, faculty, Education
  • Anthony Faiola, ADR, Health Sciences
  • Allison Walters, staff, COM
  • David Kinsella, Legal    

Does this “resuming research” planning process impact remote work?

No. All research that can be done remotely, should continue to be done remotely. We encourage you to continue to advance your research programs through remote work to the greatest extent possible, and this will continue during the early phases of resuming on-campus research activities.

 

How should we prepare for disruption to our on-campus research programs?

Develop a communication plan to assure that you and your laboratory staff are able to communicate over research operations. Suggestions include creation of an emergency call sheet that has contact information for all laboratory members, designating a point of contact for various research-related activities, delineating modes of interactions for research purposes (e.g. remote meetings) and creating a group text. 

Identify research operations that must continue (e.g., special care for animals, cell culture maintenance or on-going experiments), and identify who will be responsible for performing those activities (teams identified with back-up plans). This is especially important for ongoing animal experiments to assure investigators are responsible for animal care that is outside of DLAR personnel responsibilities.

Here is a helpful checklist of items to consider for temporary cessation of lab activities (pdf, 5 pages)

What is considered essential research?

View the definition of essential research here.

Essential research from the perspective of social, behavioral, public health and data science research leaders

4-16-20 (Tom Kelly, Betty Lorch, Teresa Waters, Jeff Talbert, Ellen Hahn, Nancy Schoenberg)

Definitions: Social, behavioral, public health and data science research should be considered essential when it is conducted with consideration of the health and safety of participants, communities and/or populations, or if discontinued would adversely affect patient care (e.g., work that provides services to victims of domestic violence or individuals diagnosed with PTSD).  By nature of its short- and long-term impact (oftentimes for vulnerable populations) social, behavioral, public health and data science research that can be conducted in a manner that protects the safety of staff and study participants (i.e., remote data collection) should continue, even if it is not deemed as essential.  As such, investigators are strongly encouraged to employ workarounds that protect and serve research participants and communities but do not expose them to in-person or other risky encounters. As in clinical trials, the balance between risk and benefit must be evaluated. Research that represents a potential risk to the health of participants, researchers, or the population overall that is not essential has been or must be paused for the present time.

Processes: To assess risk of exposure, investigators are carefully reviewing their on-going projects and assessing whether continuing with the same practices would pose a risk of infection to research participants, staff, or the overall population. If risk is present, the decision becomes whether to pause the entire operation or develop a workaround.

Operations/work arounds: Modifications to protocols include discontinuing in-person or group research activities by (1) conducting the work remotely  (i.e., focus groups using Zoom technology; administering telephone interviews rather than in-person interviews; (2) developing new self-report procedures  (e.g., mailing participants blood glucose self-testing machines); and (3) using new approaches (generally online platforms that are technology-focused like mechanical Turk, etc.).

Examples: A project that uses in-person home interviews has switched to using phone or video interviews. A project that undertook in-person biometric data collection now sends an A1C self-testing machine via delivery to each participant, along with specially created instructions for low literacy populations, and two follow up phone calls.

Challenges:

  • Some essential COVID-19 related projects are unable to be done remotely (e.g., contact tracing).
  • Some of these technologies that are useful in risk reduction are less available to the populations of focus (rural or low socioeconomic status populations with limited broadband).

The costs and availability of such workarounds may be extensive. For example, mailing individual A1C machines will cost approximately $100 per person, an expense that is not covered in the grant.

General Guidance

What Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) will be provided for the start of the fall semester?

Purchasing has provided information about the free Wellness Kit for students; the 2 free, reusable cloth masks for faculty and staff; ordering disposable masks and hand sanitizer; cleaning kits; plexiglass; and signage. Learn more

How can I replace PPE that I donated?

If your department donated Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to the University of Kentucky Hospital to assist with potential patient care needs and you need to replace items donated by your area, please contact the UK Supply Center and they will work with you to replace them with like items on a one for one basis. The items will be provided free of charge.

The UK Supply Center may be contacted by email at UKSupplyCenter@email.uky.edu. Please note the Supply Center can only replenish like items on a one for one basis. For example, if you donated gloves you can’t replace them with masks, only gloves. Depending on quantities involved, the Supply Center may only be able to provide partial replenishment at this time with remainder at a later date as supplies become available. If the items you donated are not in stock in the Supply Center these items will be ordered for you. 

What research-related work or required training can be done remotely?

  • Consider using remote work time to draft manuscripts, develop new or revised grant proposals, perform literature reviews, develop or edit dissertation drafts, etc.
  • Use this time to review and update protocols such as IRB, IACUC, IBC, or to create new ones for upcoming studies.
  • Develop standard operating procedures for methods and equipment in your laboratories.
  • Consider assigning research-related reading to your trainees and staff and have online discussions of results and their implications towards your research.
  • If you are in a research area relevant to COVID-19, develop ideas towards combating the virus in any way possible and share those with others in the field.
  • Take this opportunity to complete online training. Here are some suggestions:
    • Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR): As a land-grant public institution of higher education, and as a research intensive (R1) university where research is part of our academic mission, it is imperative that we promote and maintain an environment that encourages the ethical and responsible conduct of research. Since much of our research is supported by either taxpayer dollars or through donations to private funding agencies, we are obligated to conduct research with the highest level of integrity, and that instills public confidence in our findings. To help us achieve and maintain these goals, we will be initiating several activities, resources and training to promote the responsible conduct of research.

      To ensure a baseline knowledge of ethical research practices, the Office of the Vice President for Research is implementing a new web-based Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) course through the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI). The training is required for UK research eligible employees and includes appropriate supervision of personnel, ethical research practices and procedures and appropriate maintenance of research data and resulting publications. The CITI online courses consist of 6 modules, in addition to a brief instructional module. These modules are distinct from those that are required, for example, for human subjects research. All research eligible employees at UK must complete the basic course and refresher course annually. The modules are as follows:  mentoring, peer review, research misconduct, conflicts of interest, data management, and reproducibility: https://www.research.uky.edu/responsible-conduct-research
    • Human Subjects Protection: The University of Kentucky's Human Subject Protection (HSP) training requirement, requires all study personnel conducting research involving living human subjects, or data or biological specimens derived there from, to be trained in the protection of human subjects initially and complete refresher training every three years. We also offer additional optional courses ranging from “Advanced Issues in Informed Consent” to “Research with Persons who are Socially or Economically Disadvantaged.” For more information, please go to the ORI Human Subjects Protection (HSP) Training FAQs.
    • Electronic Lab Notebook (LabArchives): LabArchives® electronic research notebook is UK-supported, multidisciplinary and designed to help improve research documentation. Please visit this ORI link for a Quick Start Guide, FAQs and tutorials: https://www.research.uky.edu/responsible-conduct-research/labarchivesr-uk
    • Laboratory Safety: https://ehs.uky.edu/classes/classes_ohs_0001.php#annual_refresher
    • Animal ResearchIACUC Continuing Education (pdf)
    • DLAR Training Page: https://www.research.uky.edu/division-laboratory-animal-resources/training
    • Bayh-Dole Training – Intellectual Property 
      This online training is required for all new employees (after 2/1/2020) and ALL current employees who are working on federally sponsored grants and contracts. If you haven’t taken your Bayh-Dole training or need to confirm you have completed it, log into “myUK Learning” within the myUK portal (pdf instructions)

Should all research-related meetings be canceled?

All in-person meetings, such as laboratory meetings or other modes of interacting regarding research should move to an online format such as Zoom (https://www.uky.edu/elearning/zoom).

How can I decontaminate my workspaces?

Housekeeping/custodial groups will be cleaning high-touch surfaces in common areas such as doorknobs, light switches, elevator buttons and handrails. Cleaning of high-touch surfaces in labs, offices, and other similar areas that will not be cleaned by housekeeping can be cleaned by individuals following CDC guidelines and the EPA's approved disinfectants list.

Will package delivery continue?

Inbound Deliveries of Parcels to University Departments 4-2-20:

  1. All mail will be delivered to the address listed on packages/envelopes.
  2. If a department is open and available to receive deliveries under normal business operations, please utilize normal business processes for your orders and deliveries.
  3. For buildings that are closed, or where employees are working remotely and are unavailable to receive shipments, orders may be shipped to the University Post Office for pickup. The address is:

    UK Distribution Center and Bulk Mail
    1247 Versailles Road (SRM Location Code BULK)

    Departments utilizing this option should coordinate package pickup directly from the center, phone (859) 257-6370. Any inquiries for deliveries through the Bulk Mail Center can be made to Kevin Keeling, Supervisor Distribution, phone 257-6370, email kevin.keeling@uky.edu or Tim Gentry, Postal Services Manager, email twgent1@email.uky.edu.

    Note: No chemicals or other hazardous materials should be delivered via this option.
  4. If a building is closed, departments are to place information on the door notifying parcel companies to take any delivery to UK Distribution Center and Bulk Mail, 1247 Versailles Road. It will be up to delivery company policy whether they take the package to Bulk Mail or return it to the sender.
  5. Bulk Mail at 1247 Versailles Road is accepting re-routed packages.
  6. All packages for the University Hospital, zip code 40536 will continue direct delivery to their respective healthcare buildings under normal business procedures.
  7. For the above options, departments should closely follow tracking information as provided by shippers to monitor delivery status.
  8. If none of the above options meet a department’s need, contact the Purchasing Division at SRMHelp@uky.edu or UKPurchasing@uky.edu for guidance. Departments can also direct other procurement questions as needed to either email for assistance.

Will the loading dock in my building be operational?

Loading docks with the zip code 40536 (Medical Center, including the HKRB dock) will continue direct delivery to their respective buildings and locations. This includes delivery of research-related gasses and other materials. The dock will have limited staffing and we will post more details on the hours when they become available. We ask that labs ramp down their research and not order additional materials to start more experiments. However, ongoing orders of supplies will be delivered. It is up to the individual labs to monitor your ordering and shipping needs and be available to receive perishable items. 

All other docks in campus buildings will be operating based on the plans of the building owner (college or unit). We recommend you check with your college leadership (Associate Dean for Research) to find out how operations for your specific college and building will occur for research-related deliveries.

What about research-related travel?

All university-sponsored or endorsed domestic travel is strongly discouraged; international travel is not allowed. Monitor the campuswide COVID-19 response site to get the latest on university-wide travel guidance and policies: https://www.uky.edu/coronavirus/faqs

What about short-term visitors from another country?

No short-term visitor from outside the U.S. may come to campus from any country or region under a CDC Warning Level 3 unless they self-isolate for 14 days after arriving in the U.S. and before coming to campus.

Per the Department of State's most recent guidance (dated March 13, 2020), university sponsors are urged to either cancel their J-1 exchange visitor programs altogether or defer their start dates to a date past the current 60-day suspension period. Therefore, UK's International Student & Scholar Services office recommends the following:

All requests to invite a J-1 exchange visitor should include a start date no earlier than July 15, 2020 until further notice. Updates will be posted as the situation changes. Keep in mind that a July 15 start date will allow for entry into the U.S. up to 30 days before or 30 days after that start date. However, a scholar cannot receive payment from UK until the start date on their DS-2019. 

Per university policy, all other international visitors on campus (e.g. guest speakers, lecturers, etc.) are also included in this requirement.